Local gun shop to offer safety course

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 2, 2017

Owners of a local gun shop are busy preparing to offer an extensive firearms safety course for women next month.

James and Linda Clifton, owners of Opp Gun Shop, said the classes will go beyond the usual rules for safe gun handling and talk scenarios as well.

Linda said that gun safety is crucial.

She said the No. 1 rule is to assume the gun is loaded.

“People laugh at that,” she said. “But it’s not funny. Someone can laugh all they want to, but you should always walk around with the scenario that every gun is loaded.”

Clifton said with that in mind it’s pertinent to never point a gun at someone.

“That gun is loaded and you don’t point it at anyone,” she said. “You keep the muzzle down.”

She said that people must use common sense when dealing with firearms.

“A lot of times – women as well as men – get this big macho feeling when they have a gun,” she said. “They think, ‘I’m strong.’ It causes them to lower their guard. They are not paying attention. There are a lot of accidents because people are not paying attention. Sometimes it has to do with alcohol or drugs. Sometimes people are adamant they are going to teach their children about guns and you have children shooting children. People don’t always take this responsibility seriously.”

The women’s self defense class will have space for 35 women and will be held at the AMVETS center in Opp.

“I’m going to show them how to shoot through a purse,” she said. “And talk to them about practicing at home. If you’re going to have a gun, when no one is home unload and get familiar with it. Sometimes people shoot themselves or others because they haven’t gotten used to the gun.”

Clifton said they would be going over a lot of scenarios and talk about practicing.

“A lot of people don’t want to do it,” she said. “This stuff is not free. If you are going to pay the money to have a weapon, you need to pay to make it safe. It’s not a toy.”

Clifton said the course also will include making a home gun safety plan.

“You unload your weapon, you turn out your lights and you say, ‘Here’s this window. Here’s this door.’ If you had to shoot here would it permeate this wall? Do you have children in the home? Have a plan,” she said.

Clifton also encouraged people who purchase guns from individuals to check to see if the gun is unloaded.

“Don’t take their word for it,” she said. “We had a customer come in her husband had bought a gun from someone and she brought it in. The guy had told them that it was unloaded. She was pointing it at me. I asked her if the gun was unloaded and she said her husband said it was. I called James. He opened it up and there was a bullet in the chamber. She could have shot me dead. Here husband never checked the chamber.”


The 12 Golden rules for Safe Gun Handling

  • Always treat the gun as loaded.
  • Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
  • Never point the gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
  • Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the gun you are using.
  • Always use proper Ammunition.
  • Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before loading and shooting.
  • If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, hold your shooting position for several seconds; then with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, carefully unload the gun.
  • Don’t rely on the gun’s safety to keep it from firing.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when handling guns so you don’t trip or lose your balance and accidentally point and/or fire the gun at anyone or anything.

Anyone interested in information on the safety class is asked to call 334-475-1996.